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Stuart Hall School

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Visual Arts

Painting of campus by Stuart Hall student.

  Painting of Stuart Hall campus by Amelia M. '22

Fine Art education is a powerful adjunct to academics. Not only does it give an outlet for creative energies, but it helps foster creativity in and out of the classroom. Stuart Hall's art classes are structured around the National Standards in the Visual Arts curriculum and the 21st Century competencies. These guidelines support the analytical, creative, and intuitive understanding of performance and visual arts, and fit seamlessly with our Mastery Learning paradigm integral to all our curricular and co-curricular offerings.  

Benefits of Fine Arts in the Curriculum: String, Instrumental and Theatre

As a College Preparatory school with offerings equal to an art boarding school, we understand that the inclusion of art in our curriculum is vital for students’ growth, self-awareness and connection with other peoples and cultures. There are a multitude of benefits for students who are able to participate in a variety of opportunities in fine arts art-based learning including:

  • Students build connections. Similar to an art boarding school, like-minded students at Stuart Hall can connect through their love of creative expression. Long-term friendships can blossom from students in the same art classes.
  • Builds confidence. Skills-based art curriculum can help students build confidence as they see their hard work pay off. Theatre and String/Instrumental Ensembles develop public speaking and performance skills that reap benefits for a life-time.
  • Builds concentration. Painting, drawing, instrument practice, memorizing lines etc. requires students to concentrate on the project in front of them. The concentration skills they build in art classes transfer to other classes and areas of life.
  • Fosters creativity. In art class, students will use their creative abilities to think outside of the box. Creativity, encouraged in all Stuart Hall classes and co-curriculars, transfers into many other soft skills such as problem-solving.
  • Allows for self-expression. Art in school gives students the freedom to express themselves through creative projects. Self-expression helps students learn who they are and grow as individuals.
  • Promotes collaboration. Some art projects may be collaborative. This promotes teamwork and camaraderie between students. Theatre productions and music ensembles as co-curriculars or as part of our Heifetz partnership, particularly exemplify this.

As you can see, there are many different benefits of sending your student to a College Prep school with strong visual and performing arts opportunities similar to an art boarding school. 

Fine Arts Offerings

Just like a private art high school, we take pride in our unique art offerings, and go beyond the normal. Stuart Hall offers art classes during the school day, co-curricular activities after school, and community experiences on weekends. Our partnerships with Silver Line Theatre Exchange and Heifetz International’s Crescendo Program are unique in the boarding school world and offer more than many art high boarding schools.

Art Classes

Art classes offered during the academic day are open to all interested students. Our art classes are meant to foster creative growth and develop skills transferable to academics and life beyond school. Our talented faculty provides students with a safe and structured learning environment to express themselves through art.

The fine arts curriculum at Stuart Hall include: 

  • Photography
  • 2D and 3D Art
  • AP Art and Design
  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Ceramics
  • Artistic Expression
  • Theatre
  • Vocal and Instrumental Ensembles
  • Heifetz Performance and Communication Training for Strings and Piano

Co-Curricular Art Offerings

After school, students may explore co-curricular art offerings designed for self-expression, self-esteem, self-confidence, and artistic collaboration –– without the pressure of a grade. 

These co-curricular art offerings range from Theatre and Woodworking to Paper Modeling and more. 

Students are encouraged to use their creativity to express themselves artistically. Our Day Students are required to spend at least one afternoon per week in a co-curricular activity. Boarding Students are required to participate in at least three co-curricular activities.

Partnerships With Local Art Galleries, Local Theatre Conservatory, and Heifetz International Music Institute for Strings.

At Stuart Hall, we are lucky to be surrounded by a vibrant artistic culture in Staunton and the surrounding area. Many local artists are inspired by the overwhelming natural beauty and the quaint charm of downtown, but there is also an avant-garde population of artists who push the bounds of traditional art. 

Like the Stuart Hall student, these artists take risks to express concepts and ideas unique to their vision. We cooperate with some of these art galleries and organizations to display student art in local shows. This gives us the opportunity to show the work of our talented students to the local community.

Theatre Arts Partnership 

Stuart Hall’s theatre opportunities take advantage of our rich local theatre culture through a partnership with a local conservatory, Silver Line Theatre Exchange. Silver Line’s programs foster critical thinking, curiosity, self-awareness, self-confidence, and empathy to mold young people into both better actors and better humans. Additionally, through Silver Line, students can find themselves acting on the stage of Staunton’s world-renowned American Shakespeare Company’s Blackfriars Theater–a reproduction of Shakespeare’s indoor theater. Co-curricular Theater offerings at Stuart Hall can include: 

  • Basic Acting
  • Movement and Stage Combat
  • Improv
  • Acting the Short Play Stage Performance
  • Fencing

What makes Silver Line’s “Acting the Short Play” experience better than just performing in a play? More instructional time, more collaboration, more problem solving for every character, not just the lead roles; it is a whole different experience and opportunity.  Everyone in the room practices every skill that every character needs to work on.

Musical Arts Partnership for Strings

Through Crescendo, Stuart Hall’s partnership with Heifetz International Music Institute, students live and attend academic classes and activities at Stuart Hall, with daily musical instruction from Heifetz faculty. Daily activities include private lessons, chamber music study, studio classes, multimedia training, and the Institutes’ renowned Performance & Communication Training. This program guides musicians to discover their full creative potential and express their individuality not only through technically and intellectually robust music making, but also through emotional and even physical engagement with the music they play.

From an Art Boarding School to an Art College

For student artists interested in pursuing art as a profession, we have a long tradition of portfolio building that has helped our graduates attend world-class art colleges. Recent graduates have matriculated to the Rhode Island School of Design, Savannah College of Art and Design, Pratt Institute, and the Parsons School of Design.

See just how gifted our outstanding students are in the visual arts by viewing our gallery below:

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